Supreme Court rejects Field appeal

October 28th, 2011 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

’s line that was only guilty of being a hard working MP trying to help his constituents has had another setback, with the dismissing his appeal. The Herald reports:

The judges said in their finding there must be a “de minimis defence” available for people such as MPs whereby gifts of token value – such as a rugby jersey – were acceptable.

However, the services Field had received were worth about $50,000, and that could not be considered de minimis.

“While we are satisfied that the acceptance of gifts which are de minimis should not be considered corrupt … the acceptance of other benefits in connection with official actions is rightly regarded as corrupt irrespective of whether there was an antecedent promise or bargain,” they said.

“In the present circumstances, given the substantial nature of the benefits, no such defence was tenable.”

The reason I keep banging on about Field is because Labour to this day have never ever said that his behaviour was corrupt. Even after the Ingram Report came out, the party leadership defended him. Even after the verdict their only comment was they acknowledged the verdict. Their actions stood in total contrast to how ACT dealt with Donna Awatere-Huata (whose offending wasn’t even in her capacity as an MP).

But unless Field pops up as a member of a future Workplace Commission, this is probably the last post on him as he should now fade from view.

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15 Responses to “Supreme Court rejects Field appeal”

  1. queenstfarmer (696 comments) says:

    Unless there’s a royal pardon, it’s the final setback.

    Some of the more extreme Labour activists routinely call John Key corrupt, and not just in the “perjorative” sense. The fact is that the only party with an MP to be convicted and jailed for corruption (and upheld by NZ’s highest court) is the New Zealand Labour Party. Labour should finally acknowledge this and move on, but I doubt they ever will.

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  2. gravedodger (1,426 comments) says:

    Watch this space, the thieving banana, never seen a straight one yet,
    has no concept of wrongdoing and it would seem nor do his socialist colleagues.

    They only picked on him because he was——?.

    HeHeHe, de minimus, now there is a new phrase for trivial pursuit as his taking of bribes was definitely trivial, the good Dr said as much.

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  3. Positan (377 comments) says:

    Labour has long and constantly shown unhealthy ambivalence to corruption. When potential rewards are falling its way, it’s never corruption – but with the reverse, no matter how slight the suggestion or appearance, they always howl “corruption.”

    Labour’s been advantage-focused and objective-convenient in its displayed attitudes for so long now they’ve completely and utterly lost their own plot. Their credibility is, as they say, lower than a snake’s belly in a wagon rut – their usual behaviour and responses having a lot in common with the same reptile.

    It’s supporters are all so hungry for “power” at any price – I no longer expect anything honourable, or even especially intelligent, from them or their fiasco pretence of a party.

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  4. Nookin (2,887 comments) says:

    Are you surprised? Remember that the Labour appointees to the privileges committee also exonerated Winnie in the face of compelling evidence.

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  5. side show bob (3,660 comments) says:

    It’s probably more a case of don’t rock the boat, so for God’s sake don’t put the boot into old Phillip. A woman scorned would have nothing on a corrupt MP that has been dissed by his own. They are probably all shitting , Phillip might start singing like a Canary should anyone of his mates stab him in the back.

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  6. tevita (11 comments) says:

    I understand that it suits Mr Farrar to “keep banging on about Field”, but the reality happens to be quite different. Apart from the isolated statement that has been repeatedly quoted on this site (that that he isn’t guilty of anything more than trying to help his constituents), Labour has done nothing whatsoever to defend him. In fact, another thing that Helen Clark said publically was that he is immoral and unethical. I don’t recall seeing that quoted on this site. And, she said it before his trial, thus potentially prejudicing the jury against him. Most of the Labour caucus actually hated him, because of his refusal to toe the party line on conscience votes.

    Further, while the court accepted that benefits were around $50,000, this was because the trial lawyer inexplicably chose not to conduct a revaluation or mount any coherent challenge to that number. The reality is that any benefit was not even vaguely or remotely close to that number. Sunan Siriwan for one received far more material benefit from the Field family than they ever received from him.

    With respect, it is more than high time for the public of New Zealand to hear the real deal about Mr Field.

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  7. 3-coil (1,184 comments) says:

    …and lets not forget that Field was not just any old MP, but a Minister. He just happens to be the only one in Clark’s corrupt government who was tried and convicted for his dishonesty.

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  8. Nookin (2,887 comments) says:

    Tevita
    Always happy to hear another side. I have a very clear recollection of senior labour ministers stating that he was guilty of doing nothing but help constituents. Ingram was not able to conduct an adequate report because he was given insufficient powers. The Labour Party only turned on him when he had the temerity to announce that he might stand as an independent.

    There appears to be no issue of his guilt over attempting to pervert the course of justice and if Clark’s “unethical” statements referred to that behaviour then I suggest that it is a masterful understatement.

    The issue of the $50,000 relates to the corruption charges only. The continuum between a trivial gift such as that contemplated by the Supreme Court and benefits to the value of $50,000 is quite lengthy. There is no empirical threshold and it is likely that he would have been convicted even if the value had been reduced by 90%.

    Defence counsel probably had his own reasons for not challenging the figure. They may have included the fact that there was no obvious advantage in doing so. Defence Counsel may have held an entirely different view from you on this subject and may have decided that the estimate of value was cogent. Commenters are entitled to rely on statements of fact in court proceedings (or least prima facie).

    There are two issues here. One of them is the behaviour of Field. He has been tried, convicted and sentenced. He has had the benefit of appeals to the Court Of Appeal and Supreme Court. He also had the benefit of pre-trial rulings on the issue of whether a prosecution should occur in the first place. If the public has not yet heard “the real deal” then it cannot be as a result of any lack of opportunity for Mr Field to present it.

    The other issue the manner in which the Labour Party endeavoured to gloss over his behaviour. Unless you can persuade me otherwise, it is very easy to conclude that labour was more than happy to sweep this under the carpet. It is part of its modus operandi. It did exactly the same with Winston Peters.

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  9. Hagues (711 comments) says:

    tevita “Most of the Labour caucus actually hated him, because of his refusal to toe the party line on conscience votes.”

    I thought the whole point of the conscience vote was that you could vote any way you wanted? Are you suggesting Labour were so corrupt they tried to influence the way a member voted on a conscience vote, thus defeating the whole point of it?

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  10. Clint Heine (1,560 comments) says:

    Cullen and Clark bought the rail, when the party was well into the double digits behind the Nats knowing full well their actions would hurt future Governments. They should have been up on charges as well.

    The Nats made sure they both got decent jobs instead of at least make them answer to their sins.

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  11. tevita (11 comments) says:

    Hagues

    Yes, AFAIK the Labour controlled the vote on some of that legislation around morality, I think it was prostitution and/or civil unions. Because Field refused to comply, they were forced to give a special exemption for him only. But he was told not to ever expect any further promotion. When the allegations hit the media in 2005-06, apart from the initial comment from Clark and I think Cullen, Field was abandoned in No Man’s Land. Labour wanted to see the back of him, but they had to do it subtilly in order to not alienate Field’s huge voter base in Mangere from the wider Labour party. Field was in political purgatory, stuck between Labour who wanted rid of him, and National relentlessly grinding him into mince in the eyes of the public. All the while, until he mentioned possibly going independent, he was under instructions from Labour to keep his head down and say nothing. This while National were tabling false affidavits in the House from dodgy and desperate Thai immigrants who saw this as their opportunity to get into the country.

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  12. Dazzaman (1,114 comments) says:

    ……false affidavits in the House from dodgy and desperate Thai immigrants who saw this as their opportunity to get into the country.

    Exactly…..the short version is, he got shafted royally from all sides.

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  13. KH (686 comments) says:

    ………. To Tevita.
    We have heard the real deal Tevita. the court decided. after all opportunity was given for Field and co that he was guilty. He will always think he was right. But that belief led him astray in the first place.

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  14. tevita (11 comments) says:

    Nookin @ 5.22 last night

    Thanks for your courtesy. Just picking up on a couple of your points: “Ingram….was given insufficient powers.” He was given no power at all. He had no more authority than you or I as ordinary New Zealand citizens. His brief was to review the appropriateness of Field’s conduct as a Minister. At that point, in Mr Field’s view as believing in his own innocence, this was not remotely anything like a criminal enquiry.

    So, perverting the course of justice? What course of justice? Ingram was not functioning as any part of our institutions of justice. Field was not sworn, he was not warned that he could be held culpable for his statements, and he certainly was not told that all the time Ingram was sneakily coordinating with the police.

    The $50,000 figure was disputed by the defence counsel. But he made no attempt to get reassessments of the grossly inflated “Queen St” valuations Ingram came up with, or to bring refuting evidence that was readily available. Of course, this defence counsel is the one who as prosecutor put Scott Watson behind bars. He is also best mates with one Simon Moore.

    Simon Moore? The Crown Prosecutor who is part of private law firm Meredith Connell, who suceeded in having Field put in prison. Meredith Connell, by the way, is on the receiving end of one huge cash pump out of the pocket of the New Zealand taxpayer. I believe that this particular exclusive public/private arrangement may be unique in the western world. Why wouldn’t they be motivated to maximise their bill and pursue Field as extensively and agressively as possible?

    The Meredith Connell/police combo spent millions, repeat millions of dollars of our money in bringing all of their power to bear to get this man where they wanted him.

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  15. tevita (11 comments) says:

    Dazzaman

    “…..the short version is, he got shafted royally from all sides.” Correct. He was utterly crucified in the sight of the New Zealand public in a way that was almost unprecedented, long before he got to court. This, combined with a perfect storm of unfortunate circumstances including those mentioned above, meant that by the time he got in front of a jury he stood no chance whatsoever. The Appeal Court and Supreme Court simply accepted the basic findings of the jury, and concentrated their minds on complex legal definitions of bribery.

    The definition they have now confirmed is, however, nothing like what the man in the street thinks it to be. That is, there is no need for there to have been any prior agreement to give a benefit in exchange for a quid pro quo favour. This from the Supreme Court this week:

    “[7] We therefore accept that the appellant did not act improperly in respect of the particular assistance he gave to the Thais.”

    For six years, Mr Field has been told to keep his head down and his mouth shut – first by the Labour Party, and then by a succession of lawyers. His story is yet to be told.

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